Jim Fraser, son of Dundee’s famous Lochee Boys Club, British amateur boxing champion and marathon runner, has died aged 75.
He was born James Fraser in Dundee’s Mayfield Hospital on July 9, 1946.
The son of William Fraser and Walterina, who worked in a Dundee sewing factory, he had four siblings, Alex, Billy, Harry and Wilma, who is now deceased.
The family lived in Lochee with James – known as Jim or Jimmy – attending Liff Road Primary then Logie Secondary School in Dundee. He played for both schools’ football teams.
On leaving education he served his time as a butcher and also worked as a delivery boy with Beattie’s bakery, going out on the vans.
Lochee Boys Club
As a youngster Jimmy – like many of his peers from their neighbourhood – joined Lochee Boys Club. A safe haven for young men, sports including gymnastics, boxing and weightlifting were encouraged.
Jimmy’s interests were piqued by boxing.
Competing as a junior in the eight stone and under category, age 15 and 16, he would go on to win the Amateur Boxing Association Championship in the Royal Albert Hall, on May 30, 1963, representing Lochee and Scotland.
Jim ‘fighting fury’ Fraser
Newspaper reports of the time described the pint-sized puncher as a ‘paperweight that can pack a lethal wallop into his tiny fists’, and ‘a little scrapper.’
Another reporter introduced a biography on Jimmy with ‘meet 4ft 11 of fighting fury’.
Alex Fraser, Jim’s younger brother said: “Before he won he had to compete in various rounds, quarter finals, semi finals…
“My family didn’t have enough money to go with him. He would get on the train to Manchester, and then London on his own.
“In 1962 he didn’t win but in ’63 – against the same fighter, my dad went with him, and this time he won.”
He remained proud of his boxing days and being part of Lochee Boys Club citing his awards and trophies, and meeting his idols Cassius Clay (before he was Muhammad Ali) at the Albert Hall, and former undisputed world lightweight champion Ken Buchanan, among his proudest moments.
To support himself Jim began working in jute mills. He got a start in the Cox Brother’s mill and remained there the rest of his working life.
Age 17 he met Cathleen Lamont also from Lochee area.
She was 15 when they first started courting and by 16 they had tied the knot and the pair started a family right away.
Jim’s firstborn was Gary, followed by daughter Jacqueline.
While Cathleen and Jim would later divorce, Jim had two more sons – Ross and Scott – with then partner Audrey Kerr.
Always fit and healthy
Known for his fitness throughout his life, Jim also loved to run.
Taking part in the New York and London marathons among others, he was most proud of completing the Two Bridges Road Race on home turf.
The feat of endurance, known as Scotland’s most famous ultra distance marathon, started at Dunfermline Glen went over the Kincardine Bridge then over the Forth Road Bridge, finishing at Rosyth.
“He loved to say he had done that race,” said daughter Jacqueline. “As it was 36 miles and he knew not everybody who started it, finished it.”
In his spare time Jim loved to hand craft unusual walking sticks and was also a member of Lochee Pigeon Racing Club since childhood.
“My brother was just great,” said Alex. “Always into a’ sports and full of life.”
Now at rest
In recent years Jim faced an ongoing struggle with dementia which would eventually claim his life. He moved out of his home in Kingsburn Court where he lived alone and into Clement Park Care Home.
Jacqueline added: “Because he was always so fit and healthy it made it all the harder to see this happen to him.
“I helped look after him but I’ll remember him for the happy times. He loved running especially with his brother Harry.”
Jim’s funeral takes place on Friday, May 6 in the funeral home of Ashton and Edward McHugh, High Street, Lochee then on to Birkhill Cemetery.
His favourite Neil Diamond song I am I said will be played. He will be laid to rest with his country cap and one of his walking sticks.
He is survived by his three brothers, his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren